nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2017‒07‒16
seven papers chosen by

  1. A Very Brief Approximation to What Is the Capability Approach of Amartya Sen? By León Tamayo, Dorian Fernando; Moreno, Jose Luis
  2. Three essays on the impact of institutions and policies on socio-economic outcomes By Tekleselassie, Tsegay Gebrekidan
  3. Increasing the Well-Being of Others On-the-Job and Outside the Workplace By Max van Lent
  4. Choice of colleagues as reference group for wage comparison: does group composition matter? By HAURET Laetitia; WILLIAMS Donald R.
  5. Time use surveys and experienced well-being in France and the United States By Sarah Flèche; Conal Smith
  6. POPULATION STRUCTURE AND THE HUMAN DEVELOPMENT INDEX By Carmen Herrero; Ricardo Martínez; Antonio Villar
  7. Moving to Despair? Migration and Well-Being in Pakistan By Chen, Joyce J; Kosec, Katrina; Mueller, Valerie

  1. By: León Tamayo, Dorian Fernando; Moreno, Jose Luis
    Abstract: The capability approach developed by Sen represents a proposal for the evaluation of individual well-being and social development centered on people and away - but not exclusive- of materiality. In the present article describes the capability approach developed by Sen and examines the importance for the evaluation of human development.
    Keywords: capability approach, functioning, Amartya Sen
    JEL: D63 I31 I32
    Date: 2017–05–01
  2. By: Tekleselassie, Tsegay Gebrekidan
    Abstract: This thesis consists of three self-contained essays. It examines the impact of institutions and cross-border policies on socio-economic outcomes. The first essay focuses on the impact of religiosity, general and political trust, local participation, and welfare metrics on well-being in rural areas using the Ethiopian Rural Household Survey. Ordered probit methods reveal distinctive determinants of overall life satisfaction and momentary happiness. Broader socio-economic factors such as religiosity and political governance strongly predict life satisfaction, while largely welfare metrics drive momentary happiness. The second essay studies the determinants of cross-border flows of people for tourism, personal, or business purposes with a particular emphasis on the role of visa policies using instrumental variable estimation for outbound travel to a cross-section of countries for 2005 and 2010. We adopt the UN General Assembly Affinity Index, a measure of the quality of bilateral relations between nations, to instrument for bilateral visa policy. The affinity index explains 22% of the variation in visa policies in both 2005 and 2010. We find that, ceteris paribus, imposing visa reduces travel by about 80% and 73% in 2005 and 2010 respectively implying restrictive visa policies discourage cross-border travel significantly. We also find an adverse impact of restrictive visa policies on travel and tourism-related revenues and employment. The third essay addresses the role of the United States Visa Waiver Program (VWP) on inbound travel. We employ Difference-in-Difference (Diff-in-Diff) estimation on panel data in respect of US inbound travel from eight countries newly admitted to the program in 2008, versus several comparison (control) groups including ten aspirant - so-called `roadmap' - countries in the process of negotiation at the same time. We also restrict the treatment and comparison groups to Europe to reduce potential bias arising from heterogeneity and unobserved country characteristics. Treating the policy as a quasi-natural experiment allows a neater identification of the impact of visa policies on travel. We conclude, ceteris paribus, admitting a country to the program increases inbound travel from that country to the US by 29% to 44%.
    Date: 2016–11
  3. By: Max van Lent (Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands)
    Abstract: We study the relationship between workers' opportunities to help others on-the-job and volunteering behavior outside the workplace. We predict that there is substitutability between workers' contribution to other peoples' well-being by exerting effort on-the-job and outside the workplace. We test this prediction using rich data from the Dutch LISS Panel. We exploit variation in workers' opportunities to help others on-the-job from two sources: i) workers' job switching behavior and ii) changes in workers' opportunities to help others on their current job through plausibly exogenous changes in workers' match of mission preferences with their employer. We find some support for our prediction.
    Keywords: altruism; charitable donations; volunteering; public sector employment; job switchers; mission motivation
    JEL: D64 H11 J45 M50
    Date: 2017–06–23
  4. By: HAURET Laetitia; WILLIAMS Donald R.
    Abstract: Social comparison is an important issue in the context of subjective well-being. Subjective well-being is not only affected by individual salary but also by the salary of a reference group. However, in the literature the question of the choice of reference group is rarely addressed. In most studies, the reference group is considered an exogenous variable which is imposed by the analyst and is the same for all individuals. This paper assesses, in the framework of wage comparison, variables that influence the choice of colleagues as the reference group. In particular, we focus on the link between the choice of this group and the demographic characteristics of the potential reference group itself. To our knowledge, this question has not been studied in the literature. Utilizing a recent survey on working conditions and quality of working life in Luxembourg, we estimate a model of the choice of colleagues as the reference group rather than other alternatives. Due to the diversity of its labor force, Luxembourg provides an interesting context for studying the link between reference group and the demographic makeup of the firm. Our results show that the demographic characteristics of the potential reference group matter in the choice of reference group.
    Keywords: subjective well-being; reference group; wage comparison; demographic makeup
    JEL: J28
    Date: 2017–07
  5. By: Sarah Flèche; Conal Smith
    Abstract: The last decade has seen a sustained surge of interest in measures of subjective well-being on the part of economists and other social scientists. The vast majority of the academic literature on subjective well-being focuses on measures of life evaluation, as does most discussion of how measures of subjective well-being can be applied to policy. However, measures of life evaluation have well-known limitations, and other measures of subjective well-being, including experienced well-being (i.e. people’s time use and emotional state over time), can be an important complement to measures of life evaluation. As of 2016, however, few countries have included experienced well-being in their official time use surveys, and there is relatively little understanding of how different methodological approaches to measuring experienced well-being affect the results obtained. This paper presents results using data from the US and the French time use surveys, showing that the different approaches adopted by these two countries have quite different implications for the data collected. Results highlight the sensitivity of experienced well-being measures – particularly the U-index – to the choice of affective states included, and shed light on the differing results found in the literature on how unemployment impacts upon experienced well-being.
    Keywords: experienced well-being, measurement, time use survey, U-index
    JEL: C8 I31 J22
    Date: 2017–07–06
  6. By: Carmen Herrero (Universidad de Alicante & IVIE); Ricardo Martínez (Universidad de Granada); Antonio Villar (Universidad Pablo de Olavide & IVIE)
    Abstract: This paper provides an alternative way of measuring human development that takes explicitly into account the differences in the countries' population structures. The interest of this proposal stems from two complementary elements. First, that there is an enormous diversity in the population structures of those countries analysed in the Human Development Reports, particularly the shares of old people in the population. Second, that demographic characteristics are relevant in the evaluation of development possibilities. We propose to change the way of measuring health, education and material wellbeing, in order to take into account those differences in the population structures. We analyse empirically the effect induced by these changes in the evaluation of human development by comparing this way of measurement with the conventional HDI for 168 countries.
    Keywords: Human development, health, education, income, life potential, education potential
    JEL: C78 D61 D63
    Date: 2017–07
  7. By: Chen, Joyce J (Ohio State University); Kosec, Katrina (IFPRI, International Food Policy Research Institute); Mueller, Valerie (IFPRI, International Food Policy Research Institute)
    Abstract: Internal migration has the potential to substantially increase income, especially for the poor in developing countries, and yet migration rates remain low. We explore the role of psychic costs by evaluating the impacts of internal migration on a suite of well-being indicators using a unique, 22-year longitudinal study in rural Pakistan. We account for selection into migration using covariate matching. Migrants have roughly 35 to 40 percent higher consumption per adult equivalent, yet are 12 to 14 percentage points less likely to report feeling either happy or calm. Our results suggest that deteriorating physical health coupled with feelings of relative deprivation underlie the disparity between economic and mental well-being. Thus, despite substantial monetary gains from migration, people may be happier and less mentally distressed remaining at home. If traditional market mechanisms cannot reduce psychic costs, it may be more constructive to address regional inequality by shifting production – rather than workers – across space.
    Keywords: internal migration, psychic costs, well-being, Pakistan
    JEL: J61 O15 I31
    Date: 2017–06

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